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August is a fantastic month for rich vibrant veggie dishes and we are celebrating all the garden gems that summer has created so far.

Heat-loving crops like tomatoes, aubergine and beetroot are fantastic right now along with potatoes, cucumbers and courgettes.  Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale grow quickly in the heat so keep an eye on your crop. 

A variety of plants in your diet ensures a good range of nutrients, you want to pack each mealtime out with bright colourful vegetables for lots of vitamins and antioxidants. However you eat – whether you enjoy a plant-based, gluten-free, Mediterranean, paleo, carb loaded or a flexitarian diet – vegetables should take pride of place on your plate.

Fresh or Frozen?

Unless you are harvesting the produce yourself you are unlikely to get what is truly ‘fresh’ on your dinner plate. The fresh grocery section in your local supermarket will have been picked, packed and chilled to maintain the crispness of your favourite fruit or vegetable, but from the moment it is picked from the plant, ground or tree it will start to lose nutrients.  The produce is picked, stored, transported, preserved (unless organic), bundled onto the shelf and then transported by the buyer, stored for however long, cooked then finally digested. 

When products are packaged for freezing, their journey as a vulnerable soft and malleable leaf, berry or stem halts as they are frozen to protect and preserve. The loss of nutrients is also halted. Many frozen veggies can be cooked from frozen so the journey appears to not have the same nutrient loss as fresh veg does.

Should I choose Organic?

Every year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases a comprehensive “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” known as the the Dirty Dozen. This list contains the top twelve fruits and veggies found to be most pesticide-contaminated (and most at-risk for pesticide contamination) based on the latest research. Essentially, these are the foods you want to buy organic whenever possible. According to the EWG, the crops and produce treated with the highest volume and variety of pesticides are as follows:

It isn’t all bad news, they also produce a list of the cleanest foods – these ones are not quite so grubby and can be enjoyed organic or not!

Organic shopping can be expensive. There needs to be a balance between good wholesome food, budget, tastes, lifestyle needs and family requirements. You may have opportunity to grow your own, or rely wholly on getting good quality food from shops and markets. 

These handy lists help you make the choice that is right for you. 

Food glorious food!

We have compiled a few of our favourite recipes below to showcase these delicious nutrient rich veggies to make sure you pack a punch in flavour as well as goodness.

Tanya's Turmeric and Tahini Cauliflower Steaks

A deliciously 'meaty' cauliflower dish with a zesty sauce packed full of protein. Serve with green salad or with stir-fry veggies. Makes a delicious pitta bread filling for tomorrow's lunch too.

Slice a large cauliflower head into approx 1/2 cm ‘steaks’. Drizzle the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle ground turmeric over both sides. Add some cumin seeds, salt and pepper and roast on a medium heat for 30 minutes. Can be eaten from the oven or once cooled. 

Add some Lemon and Tahini dipping sauce for some extra vavavoom….Take 3 tablespoons of tahini, the juice of one lemon, 150g of coconut yoghurt, a dash of almond milk and a pinch of salt. Mix until smooth. 

Lucia's Broccoli Surprise

An all-year round favourite, broccoli is so versatile in stews, stir-fries, stockpots and salads. This dish makes a regular appearance at family dinners, barbecues and even in lunchboxes. What makes it a surprise? Different ingredients, and occasionally not burning it.

Roast some tender stem broccoli on a low heat with a drizzle of sesame seed oil. Turn off the heat before they go soft/burn to the tray. Pour a little tamari sauce over the stems and sprinkle with a handful of pine nuts. You can add garlic into the mix too when grilling for a little more depth of flavour. Serve whole with baby potatoes and grilled chicken breast, or chop and add to pasta. Also delicious cold and sliced in a wrap with baby plum tomatoes and houmous.

Alison's Raw Grated Beetroot Salad

Raw veggies add lots of crunch and Alison loves adding a splash of purple to her salad with raw grated beetroot. These purple plants are full of antioxidants and in particular good for supporting the liver.

Create a delightfully colourful dish of leafy greens (spinach and kale) with red onion, carrot batons, cucumber slices and avocado. Heap with fresh grated beetroot. All raw, crunchy and full of goodness.

Bea's Crispy Kale

Transform kale into a popular accompaniment to any meal, or as a tasty snack to enjoy!

Take a big pile of kale, some olive or avocado oil and some Himalayan Pink Salt. Wash & drain the kale and remove stalks by tearing the leaf off the stalk. Place it on an oven tray and pour over olive or avocado oil. Season with Himalayan Pink Salt. Add the tray into the oven at 130C degrees for 10 minutes. Then open the oven, stir it through and add it for another 5 minutes. Keep checking & stirring it every couple of minutes until all crispy but not burnt.

Bit shy around vegetables?

We always say tha food comes first for nutrients, but if you are a broccoli dodger there are some fantastic ways to get the goodness into your day.

Vital All-in-one is an easily absorbed, carefully balanced powder blend of essential nutrients designed to help give your body everything it needs in a day! Just two teaspoons daily of Vital All-In-One delivers 70 vital ingredients that are loaded with vitamins, minerals, cultures, antioxidants, protein, greens and more.

Terranova's Sneaky Greens is a food supplement for children ages 4-12. Each scoop is packed full of antioxidant rich greens, berries and microflora. Simply take 1 scoop (approx. 4g) daily, mixed into juice or blended into a smoothie.

BioCare's Antioxidant Complex is a unique combination of powerful nutrients including vitamin C for immune and antioxidant support. This blend includes turmeric, green tea, bilberry and grapeseed which are rich in powerful antioxidants and help to support immunity, skin health, heart health and circulation

Chlorophyll is a green pigment produced naturally by plants and algae, it is the most significant and nutritious element of most green plants and provides them with their distinctive green colour. It assists plants to convert sunlight into energy and is rich in a variety of essential nutrients. Kiki Health's chlorophyll comes in a bio-available liquid form and is an entirely natural, plant-based liquid extracted solely from alfalfa grass.

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